Decode Your Child’s Coloring Pages
Children like to give color, and their work is a reflection of their internal world. Most kids don’t think about or censor their artwork. For the past 40 years, I’ve used children’s Color Internet pages as an important part of my pediatric practice. At each well-child visit starting at four or five 5 years old, our nurse asks the child to “give color an image of your loved ones doing something.” To simplify the procedure, each exam room has blank white paper on a clipboard with a african american felt pen.
The family colouring helps me study development at a given moment in time, and it may hint me off to potential problems. An individual color is a snapshot of an child’s perspective — of her role in the family, her relationship to other family members, and her self-esteem. It also may show talents in the kid and the family that are essential to recognize and validate. It can indicate cultural patterns that give me a much better understanding of some habits or beliefs. I usually ask the parents for their impression of the colouring webpage, because our conversation can yield even more info that might not come up normally.
A major caveat here: We all want to find invisible meanings in Colouring Pages, but be cautious about overinterpreting. It’s not a good idea to read too much into your son or daughter’s sketches. Instead, use them as an possibility to talk with your child about what she or he has drawn. Then ask questions about them to improve communication between you. Do your very best to avoid presenting too many of your own impressions. I purposely keep carefully the talk very open-ended: “Tell me about your colouring. Who will be the people in the picture? What exactly are they doing?” For examples of what you may be looking for with your own children, check out my evaluation of the kids’ Coloring Web pages.
This first picture is a superb example of how artwork can be a springboard for conversation. It was drawn by a patient of mine when she was 11. She possessed lived exclusively with her mother since delivery and she has no siblings. On the top, her physical health, schoolwork, and interpersonal development were just fine. But she made friends little by little and she was unusually cautious about leaving her mother to go to friends’ homes. She preferred to get friends come to her house and play while her mother was nearby. I had been worried that their close connection got in the way of her learning how to separate from her mom, which really is a necessary part of development.
I hadn’t had the opportunity to understand this point across at earlier office sessions. But with this colouring, I had fashioned an opening. Just how they were put so closely jointly, and the actual fact that a short string connected the mother and girl, stood out if you ask me. ONCE I asked Mom, “What do you consider about this picture?” she at first talked proudly about her daughter’s coloring skills. But she admitted that she could see what I’d been hoping to state about their romance. We could actually discuss it, and she still left the office determined to help her princess (and herself ) discover ways to split psychologically while retaining their loving and close relationship.
Coloring skills often get started to tell a story in kindergarten. Although kids as of this age have a tendency to use simple stay figures, you can sometimes choose things up from cosmetic expressions, where family are placed, and what they’re doing. This second picture, attracted with a 5-year-old girl, can be an exemplory case of that. She drew her mom on the much left, followed by the family dog, her father, herself, and her 8-year-old sibling. The lady drew herself as larger than her parents — this typically shows good self-esteem. It’s worthy of noting that she put herself between her father and brother: When children are between 4 and 6 years old, they develop a sense of these gender identity. As part of this normal developmental process, girls often get physically and emotionally nearer to their father (kids this age have a tendency to get nearer to their mother), and the thoughts are temporary.